Seasons of the Tallgrass Prairie


Seasons of the Tallgrass Prairie

A Nebraska Year

Paul A. Johnsgard

184 pages
10 illustrations, 1 appendix


December 2014


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

December 2014


$19.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

December 2014


$19.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

A respected author and scholar, Paul A. Johnsgard has spent a lifetime observing the natural delights of Nebraska’s woodlands, grasslands, and wetlands. Seasons of the Tallgrass Prairie collects his musings on Nebraska’s natural history and the issues of conservation facing our future.


Johnsgard crafts essays featuring snow geese, owls, hummingbirds, and other creatures against the backdrop of Great Plains landscapes. He describes prairie chickens courting during predawn hours and the calls of sandhill cranes; he evokes the magic of lying upon the prairie, hearing only the sounds of insects and the wind through the grasses. From reflections following a visit to a Pawnee sacred site to meditations on the perils facing the state’s finite natural resources, Seasons of the Tallgrass Prairie celebrates the gifts of a half century spent roaming Nebraska’s back roads, trails, and sometimes-forgotten places.

Author Bio

Paul A. Johnsgard is Foundation Regents Professor Emeritus in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He has received the National Conservation Achievement Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award, both sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, and is the author of more than five dozen books on natural history, including The Sandhill and Whooping Cranes: Ancient Voices over America’s Wetlands and Prairie Dog Empire: A Saga of the Shortgrass Prairie (both available in Bison Books editions).


“Many scientists and historians have written about the natural history of the Great Plains, but few so compellingly as Paul Johnsgard.”—Annals of Iowa

"Seasons of the Tallgrass Prairie celebrates the gifts of a half century spent roaming Nebraska's back roads, trails, and sometimes-forgotten places."—Nebraska Magazine

"A simply wonderful read from beginning to end."—John Burroughs, Midwest Book Review

"A quietly magnificent book, nature writing at its best."—Nancy Plain, Roundup Magazine

"From sacred sites to majestic wildlife patterns, Seasons of the Tallgrass Prairie snaps a unique portraiture of Nebraska as a great sustainer of all who dwell within its bounds. Whether you’re a scientist or layperson, it’s worth your time to pick up this collection, discover a quiet outdoor spot and just take it all in."—Erin Seaward-hiatt, L Magazine

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments    
Part 1. Wild Places and Natural Treasures
1. A Place Called Pahaku    
2. The Life and Hard Times of the Platte River    
3. Nebraska’s Magical Spring Migration    
4. The Birds of Nebraska’s Boondocks    
5. What Is a Tallgrass Prairie?    
6. Close Encounters with Nature at Spring Creek Audubon Prairie    
Part 2. Seasonal Enchantments
7. The Snow Geese of the Central Flyway    
8. A Congruence of Cranes    
with Karine Gil-Weir
9. The Whooping Cranes Are Still Surviving Tough Odds    
with Karine Gil-Weir
10. The Strange Courtship of Prairie Grouse    
11. The Secretive Shorebirds and Their Amazing Migrations    
12. Birds of the Tallgrass Prairie    
13. Nebraska’s City-Dwelling Peregrines    
14. The Ancient Romance of the Yucca and the Yucca Moth    
15. A Dazzle of Hummingbirds    
16. A Symphony of Swans    
17. A Plethora of Pelicans    
18. A Gathering of Eagles    
19. A Parliament of Owls    
20. The Feathers of Winter    
Part 3. The View from a High Hill
21. A Summing Up    
Appendix: Latin Names of Plants and Animals Mentioned in the Text    
Bibliographic Sources   

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